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words, and with keenest glance directed and
brandished against the very ulcers themselves of
offence. And, when they might have been much
mingled and entangled together in their crimes
and guilt, I have, by their most peculiar marks,
but those capital, condemned them singly.
the human mind, my son, puffed up with the
incursions and observations of things, contrives
and educes very various species of error. But
Aristotle is as a taller plant of one species, so
also Plato, and others besides. Yet thou requirest
particular confutations. Verily, it were a great
sin against the golden fortune of mankind, the
pledge of empire, for me to turn aside to the pur-
suit of most fleeting shadows. One bright and
radiant light of truth, my son, must be placed in
the midst, which may illuminate the whole, and
in a moment dispel all errors. Certain feeble and
pale lamps are not to be carried round to the
several corners and holes of errors and falsehoods.
Wherefore, my son, detest what you were seek-
ing; for it is very profane. But now I hear thee
asking, is all that the whole of these have asserted
altogether false and vain? Truly, my son, this
is unhappiness and that prodigious, not ignorance.

what can be done. If a kingdon, subdued by
arms and victorious war, were delivered to thee,
wouldst thou frame questions whether or not thy
ancestors had possessed it, and solicit the rumours
of genealogies? So much for the recesses of
antiquity. But, concerning those leaders of sects,
whom thou hast named, and many more of like
sort, it is easy to decide. Variety is proper to
error, unity to truth. And, unless the politics
and provisions of the times had been adverse to
the peregrinations of such minds, many other
regions of error would have been wandered over.
For, an immense ocean encompasses the island
of truth, and men have still to endure new
damages and scatterings from the winds of idols.
Nay, even two or three days ago, Bernardinus
Telesius mounted the stage, and enacted a new
play, neither frequent in applause nor elegant in
argument. Dost thou not observe, my son, that
the contrivers, both of eccentrics and of epicycles,
and the charioteers of the earth, delight in the
impartial and ambiguous advocation of pheno-
mena? It is exactly so in universal theories.
For, as if any one, knowing only the use of his
vernacular tongue, (attend, my son, for this is
very similar,) undertake to write an unknown | For, no man does not, at times, hit upon something
speech, in which, observing some few words ap- true. When Heraclitus remarked, that knowledge
proaching in sound and letters to those of his own is to be sought by men in private worlds, not in
language, he immediately and confidently assumes the common world, I perceive that he sacrificed
them to be of the same signification, (though well at the entrance of philosophy. Democritus,
more frequently far removed from it;) then, by I think, did not unhappily philosophize, when,
collating these together, with much labour of attributing immense variety and infinite succes-
ingenuity, but also much liberty, he divines the sion to nature, he set himself against almost all
remaining sense of the oration; altogether, such other philosophers, the slaves of custom, and
also are those interpreters of nature found to be. given over to secularities, and by this opposition
For, each bringing his idols, (I speak not now bringing both errors into collision, destroyed both,
of those of the stage, but especially of the mar- and opened some way for truth between the ex-
ket and of the den,) like diverse vernacular tremes. The numbers of Pythagoras I set down
tongues, to history, immediately seizes the things as also of good omen. Dindamus, the Indian, I
which sound somewhat alike; from the symmetry commend, for having called custom antiphysis.
of these the rest are interpreted. And now it is And, to Epicurus disputing against the explication
time, my son, for us to recover and purge our of causes, (as they speak,) by intentions and
selves, seeing we have been handling (though with ends, though childishly and philologically, I
purpose of importing) things so profane and pol- nevertheless not unwillingly listen. Pyrrho, also,
luted. But, against all these I have said less than and the vacillating academics, talking from the
their guilt deserved. Yet, perhaps, thou compre- skiff, and conducting themselves against idols,
hendest not this censure. For, be assured, my like certain morose lovers, (who are always re-
son, the judgment I have pronounced against proaching their loves, but never desert them,) I
them is nothing less than contumely. For, I have use for the sake of the mind and of hilarity.
not conducted myself like Velleius with Cicero, Nor without cause: for idols drive others straight
a declaimer and philologist cursorily touching forwards, but these in a circle, which is pleasanter.
opinions, and rather casting them away than de- Lastly, I should wish to have Paracelsus and Seve
stroying them, or, like Agrippa the modern, in rinus for criers, when, with such clamours, they
speech of that kind not to be named indeed, but a convoke men to the suggestions of experience.
trivial buffoon, distorting every thing and holding What then? are they possessed of truth? Nothing
it out to ridicule; (unhappy me, who, in defect less. And, my son, some proverbs of rustics are
of men, am forced to compare myself with apposite to truth. If the sow with her snout should
brutes!) But, on looking back afterwards, happen to imprint the letter A upon the ground;
thou wilt discern, under the veil of reproach, wouldst thou, therefore, imagine that she could
wondrous airs of accusations, with singular write out a whole tragedy as one letter? Of a
art contracted and reduced almost to single far different sort is the truth revealed from the


analogy of knowledge, and the truth from the | Confide and give thyself to me, my son, that I section of an idol. The former is constant and may restore thee to thyself. indefinitely germinous, the latter discordant and solitary. Which happens also in works. Gunpowder, if it had been invented by conduct, not chance (as they speak) and accident, would not have come forth solitary, but with great frequence of noble inventions, (which fall under the same meridian.) So also the rest, both works and principles. Wherefore I admonish thee, if perhaps any idol of any of these hath in any point determined my truth, that is, the truth of things, not to think more highly of them, or less of me, since it is sufficiently apparent from their ignorance of the rest, that those things themselves they have not said from the analogy of knowledge. But thou still urgest, my son: would you, therefore, order all their writings to be converted into wrappings for incense and perfumes? That I should not have said. For there remains yet a short while some use of them, slight and narrow, and far different from that which they were destined for, and now usurp, but still some. Add to this that there are many other writings obscurer in fame, but more excellent in use. The morals of Aristotle and of Plato many admire; yet Tacitus breathes more living observations of manners. But at length in the proper place I shall say, what utility can be derived from writings, and which are superior in utility to the rest, and which smallest part of them are gifts of those things which contribute to the interpretation of nature. Lastly, my son, I hear thee inquiring: dost thou suffice thyself in place of all these? I shall reply, and that not dissemblingly, but from my inmost sense. I, dearest son, will confirm to thee a sacred, chaste, and legitimate marriage with things themselves. From which intercourse (above all wishes of marriage songs) thou shalt beget a most blessed progeny of heroes, who shall subdue the infinite necessities of man, more fatal than all giants, and monsters, and tyrants; and for your affairs procure a placid and festal security and plenteousness. But were I, my son, to commit thee to the giddy intricacies of experience with a mind unpurged of idols, verily thou wouldst soon desire a leader. Yet by my simple precepts, without the knowledge of things, thou canst not, however much thou mayest wish it, divest thyself of idols. In tables, unless you erase what has before been written, you can write nothing else. But in the mind, on the contrary, unless you inscribe something else, you cannot erase what has before been written. And although this may be done, although thou mayest put off the idols of friendship, yet indeed, being uninitiated, there is danger that thou mayest be overwhelmed by the idols of the way. Thou hast too much accustomed thyself to a leader. At Rome, tyranny being once established, the oath in the name of the Roman senate and people was ever afterwards vain.

OF THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE. ACCOUNTING myself born for the use of mankind, and judging the case of the commonweal to be one of those things which are of public right, and like water or air lie open to all; I sought what might be of most advantage to men, and deliberated what I was most fitted for by na ture. I discovered that nothing is of such estimation towards the human race, as the invention and earnest of new things and arts, by which man's life is adorned. For I perceive that, even in old times among rude men, the inventors and teachers of things rude were consecrated and chosen into the number of the gods; and I noted that the deeds of heroes who built cities, or were legislators, or exercised just authority, or subdued unjust dominations, were circumscribed by the narrowness of places and times. But the invention of things, though it be a matter of less pomp, I esteemed more adapted for universality and eternity. Yet above all, if any bring forth no particular invention, though of much utility, but kindleth a light in nature, which from the very beginning illuminates the regions of things, which lie contiguous to things already invented, afterwards being elevated lays open and brings to view all the abstrusest things; he seems to me a propagator of the empire of man over the universe, a defender of liberty, a conqueror of necessities. But I found myself constructed more for the contemplations of truth than for aught else, as having a mind sufficiently mobile for recognising (what is most of all) the similitude of things, and sufficiently fixed and intent for observing the subtleties of differences, and possessing love of investigation, patience in doubting, pleasure in meditating, delay in asserting, facility in returning to wisdom, and neither affecting novelty, nor admiring antiquity, and hating all imposture. Wherefore I judged my nature to have a kind of familiarity and relationship with truth. Yet seeing by rank and education I was trained to civil affairs, and, like a youth, sometimes staggered in my opinions, and conceived I owed my country something peculiar, and not equally pertaining to all other parts, and hoped, if I obtained any honourable degree in the commonwealth to perform with greater help of ingenuity and industry what I had intended; I both learned civil arts, and with all ingenuousness and due modesty, commended myself to my friends who had some power. And in addition to this, because those things of whatever kind penetrate not beyond the condition and culture of this life, the hope occurred that I, born in no very prosperous state of religion, might, if called to civil offices, contribute somewhat to the safety of souls. But when my zeal was imputed

to ambition, and my age was matured, and my | of nature, in the first ascent before arriving at a disordered health also admonished me of my un- certain degree of generals, should be kept pure happy slowness, and I next considered that I and separate from all application to works. Morenowise fulfilled my duty, while I was neglecting over, I know that all those who have in some that by which I could through myself benefit measure committed themselves to the waters of men, and applying myself to the things which experience, seeing they were infirm of purpose, or depended upon the will of another, I altogether desirous of ostentation, have at the entrance unweaned myself from those thoughts, and wholly reasonably sought pledges of works, and have betook myself to this work, according to my thence been confounded and shipwrecked. Bat former principle. Nor is my resolution diminish- if any requires at least particular promises, let ed, by foreseeing in the state of these times, a him know that by that knowledge, which is now sort of declination and ruin of the learning which in use, men are not skilled enough even for wishis now in use; for although I dread not the in- ing. But, what is of less moment, should any cursions of barbarians, (unless, perhaps, the em- of the politicians, whose custom it is from perpire of Spain should strengthen itself, and oppress sonal calculations to estimate every thing, or from and debilitate others by arms, itself by the burden,) examples of like endeavours to form conjecture, yet from civil wars (which, on account of certain presume to interpose his judgment in a matter of manners not long ago introduced, seem to me this sort, I would have told that ancient saying, about to visit many countries) and the malignity "claudus in via, cursorem extra viam antevertit,” of sects, and from those compendiary artifices and and not to think about examples, since the matter cautions which have crept into the place of learn-is without example. But the method of publishing, no less a tempest seems to impend over letters and science. Nor can the shop of the typographer suffice for those evils. And that unwarlike learning, which is nourished by ease, and flourishes by praise and reward, which sustains not the vehemency of opinion, and is the sport of artifices and impostures, is overcome by the impediments which I have mentioned. Far different is the nature of the knowledge whose dignity is fortified by utility and operation. And from the injuries of time I am almost secure; but for the injuries of men I am not concerned. For should any say that I savour things too high, I reply simply, in civil affairs there is place for modesty, in contemplations for truth. But if any one require works immediately, I say, without any imposture, that I, a man not old, frail in health, involved in civil studies, coming to the obscurest of all subjects without guide or light, have done enough, if I have constructed the machine itself and the fabric, though I may not have employed or moved it. And with the same candour, I profess that the legitimate interpretation

ing these things is, to have such of them as tend to seize the correspondences of dispositions, and purge the areas of minds, given out to the vulgar and talked of; to have the rest handed down with selection and judgment. Nor am I ignorant that it is a common and trite artifice of impostors to keep apart from the vulgar certain things which are nothing better than the impertinences they set forth to the vulgar. But without any imposture, from sound providence, I foresee that this formula of interpretation, and the inventions made by it, will be more vigorous and secure when contained within legitimate and chosen devices. Yet I undertake these things at the risk of others. For none of those things which depend upon externals concerns me: nor do I hunt after fame, or, like the heretics, take delight in establishing a sect; and to receive any private emolument from so great an undertaking, I hold to be both ridiculous and base. Sufficient for me is the consciousness of desert, and the very accomplishment itself of things, which even fortune cannot withstand.

J. A. C.




Outline and Argument of the Second Part of the facts and particular experiments to generic veri


KEEPING then in view our plan, we shall exhibit the whole subject perspicuously, and with orderly distribution of the parts. Wherefore, let us now unfold the design and arrangement of this second part. We devote this part to the doctrine of a better and more perfect use of reason than hath heretofore been known or promulgated to men, with purpose (as far as the terms of this mortal state permit) to aggrandize and enlarge the human intellect with power to conquer and interpret the mystery of nature. To the interpretation itself we have dedicated three books, the third, the fourth, and the fifth; for the sixth, which consists of anticipations drawn from the ordinary use of reason, it is to be taken only as temporary and provisional, and when in time it shall have begun to acquire solidity, and to be verified by the methods of legitimate reason, it is shifted, and, as it were, migrates of itself into the sixth.

But to this second book is apportioned the intellect itself, its treatment and regulation, and the entire system of preparation and training leading to the right conduct of the understanding. And although the term logic or dialectics, by reason of the depravations of the art, sounds repulsive in our ears, yet to lead men as it were so far by the hand in their wonted tracts, we acknowledge the art which we profess to be of the nature of logic,—so far as logic (the common logic, I mean) supplies aids and constructs defences for the intellect. Yet ours differs from the received logic, besides other points of opposition, principally in three; namely, its mode of entering on inquiry, its order of demonstration, and its end and office. It goes deeper to find a foundation and basis for inquiry, by subjecting to investigation what the received logic admits as it were on the credit of others, and in a blind submission to authority, principles, primary notions, and the informations of the senses; and it reverses downright its order of demonstration, by making propositions and axioms, in an unbroken line, ascend and mount on a ladder of elevation, from recorded *The first part of this tract forms the preface to the Novum Organum, translated by Mr. Wood, vol. iii. p. 000, 000.

ties, not by darting without a pause to principles and the higher generalizations, and from them deducing and inferring intermediate truths. Again, the end of this our scheme of science is, that things and works, not reasonings and speculative probabilities, may be invented and brought to the test.

Such then is the scope of the second book. Let us now, in like manner, set forth its arrangement. As in the generation of light it is requisite that the body which is to receive the rays be made smooth and clean, and then planted in a position or conversion duly adapted to the illumination, before the light itself is introduced, even so we must proceed now. For, first the area of the mind must be levelled out and cleared of those things which have hitherto encumbered it; next, there must be a turning of the mind well and fittingly to the objects which are presented; lastly, information must be exhibited to the mind thus prepared for its reception.

Now, the extirpating part is threefold, according to the three several classes of idols which beset the mind. For such idols are either adoptive, and that in two ways, having invaded and established themselves in the mind from the systems and sects of philosophy, or from an abuse of the laws and methods of demonstration; or, secondly, they are such as are inseparable from and indigenous in the essence of the mind. For as an uneven and ill-cut mirror distorts the true rays of things according to its own incurvation of surface; so, too, the mind, subjected to the impression of objects through the senses, in performing its operations, interchanges and mixes up its own nature with that of its objects, so as it may not be implicitly trusted.

Wherefore the first task imposed upon us is to disperse utterly, and to expatriate all that army of theories which has figured in so many wellfought combats. To this we add a second, the emancipation of the mind from the slavery imposed on it by perverted laws of demonstration; which is followed by a third, namely, to master the seductive bias of the mind itself, and either to extirpate its native idols, or, if they cannot be rooted up, so to point them out and thoroughly comprehend them, that deviations may be recti

fied. For it would be futile, and perhaps perni- of contemplative wisdom, as from a far diviner cious, merely to overturn and explode errors in philosophy, if from the incorrigible grain of the mind a new off-shoot of errors, perhaps even degenerated from their predecessors, should sprout; and not till all hope is precluded, of perfecting philosophy, or enlarging its empire by the exercise of ordinary reason, and by the helps and aids of the received logic, ought we to abandon and discard them; lest haply we do not thereby banish, but only change our errors. Wherefore that part of the book which we term the destroying, consists of a threefold argument of redargution or exposure; redargution of the philosophies; redargution of the demonstrations; and redargution of human reason in its natural course.

And it does not escape us, that without so immense a revolution, no small accretion to science might result from our labours, and celebrity be attainable by a smoother path. Nevertheless, being uncertain when the same views may enter the mind of any other man, we have determined to make a full and free profession of our creed.

After having levelled the area of the mind, it follows in order, that we must place the mind in an advantageous position, and, as it were, in a kindly exposure to the rays of what we propound. For since, in a matter of novelty, not merely the violent preoccupation of old opinion, but also a false preconception or conjectural picture of that which is offered, disposes to prejudice, we must also apply a remedy to this disorder, and the mind must not only be disencumbered but prepared. That preparation is nothing more than to have true opinions of that which we allege imparted provisionally only, as it were, and by way of loan, previous to a thorough knowledge of the thing itself. Now, this mainly depends on shutting out, and holding in abeyance those foul and malign suspicions, which, we may easily augur, will, from the prejudices now in vogue, as from the contagion of an epidemic fanatical gloom, seize upon men's minds; wherefore it behoves us to see, as Lucretius hath it,

"Ne qua

Occurrat facies inimica atque omnia turbet."

state-we shall show and establish, as we trust, forever, (not without putting to the blush the whole of that school which hesitates not to concede divine honours to fantastic reveries, utterly bereft of solidity,) the difference that prevails between the ideas of the divine and the idols of the human mind. Those also to whom, absorbed in the love of meditation, our frequent mention of works sounds harsh, uncouth, and mechanical, shall be instructed how much they war against the attainment of their own object of desire, since exact clearness of contemplation, and the invention of works, its under platform, depend upon and are brought to perfection by the same means. If any one should still hold out, conceiving of this absolute regeneration of science from its elements, as a thing interminable, vast, and infinite, we shall demonstrate that, on the contrary, it ought to be regarded as a true boundary and a circumscribing line, marking off the region of error and waste land; and we shall make it manifest, that a just and full inquisition of particulars, without attempting to embrace individuals, gradations, and vermiculate differences, (which is enough for the purposes of science;) and then notions and truths, raised from and upon the former, in just method, form something infinitely more defined, tangible, and intelligible, sure of itself, and clear both in what hath been done, and what remains to be accomplished, than floating systems and abstract subtleties, of which there is indeed no end, but a ceaseless gyration, whirl, and chaos. And though some sober censor, (as he may think himself,) applying to this subject that diffidence of consequences which becomes civil prudence, should consider what we now say to be like men's vain aspirations-an indulgence only of wild hopeand that in truth nothing else will follow from this remodelled state of philosophy, than that new doctrines, perhaps, are substituted, but the resources of mankind not at all augmented—such a one we shall, as we conceive, induce to admit, that we are doing any thing but founding a system or a sect, that our institution differs wholly and generically from all that have hitherto been attempted in philosophy and the sciences-and that there is the surest promise of a harvest of works, if men will only not forestal the same by hastening to cut the first worthless vegetation of muscus and weeds, and grasping with a childish passion and vain precipitation at the first pledges of works. And in handling the points we have enumerated, enough, we think, shall have been done to guard against that species of prejudice which is inspired by false and illiberal notions of

First, then, if any one think that the secrets of nature remain shut up, as it were, with the seal of God, and by some divine mandate interdicted to human wisdom, we shall address ourselves to remove this weak and jealous notion, and, relying on simple truth, shall bring the inquiry to this issue, not only to silence the howl of superstition, but to draw religion herself to our side. Again, if the idea should occur to any one, that great and scrupulous delay in experiments, and the tossing the thing propounded; and therewithal we judge about, so to speak, on a sea of matter and particular facts, which we impose on men, must needs plunge the mind into a very Tartarus of confusion, and cast it down from the serenity and coolness

that our second part, which we call the preparatory, is complete ;-after every adverse gust from religion, from theoretical speculation, and from ivil wisdom, with its handmaids, distrust, phleg

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